The World Series could be set for a return to Illinois after a five-year absence, but it’s the Chicago White Sox who look most likely to make a run at baseball’s grandest prize.
The Chicago Cubs were the last Illinois franchise to be crowned kings of Major League Baseball in 2016, while the White Sox have failed to even make it past the Division Series since they won the World Series in 2005.
But change looks to be on the horizon after the 2021 MLB season crossed its halfway mark, with the White Sox lodged among the odds leaders as +850 contenders for the title.
IllinoisGambler provides an easy-to-understand guide on how and where to bet in the state, and the White Sox could be one particularly valuable pick if their season so far is anything to go by.
Only teams sit ahead of the American League Central leaders in the World Series stakes as things stand.
There’s not a lot of room between them and the AL West leaders the Houston Astros (+650), but the same can’t be said for the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Despite the fact they sit second in the National League West, the Dodgers remain +400 frontrunners to win a second World Series in as many years.
That’s less than half the White Sox’s price and speaks of just how highly the sportsbooks rate their chances as the Dodgers look to become MLB’s first back-to-back champions since 2000.
The New York Yankees were the last team to successfully defend the World Series when they won three in a row between 1998 and 2000, while no National League franchise has managed to do so since the Cincinnati Reds in 1975-76.
The Dodgers have also continued their strong run of form despite seeing star pitcher Trevor Bauer placed on administrative leave amid sexual assault allegations, as reported by SignalSCV in early July.
CNN provided further details on the sequence of events that led to Bauer being placed on leave, while ESPN’s Jeff Passan has since reported the suspension will run into late July:
Despite losing one of their key players, the results have continued to fall in favor of the Dodgers, although they did suffer a run of four defeats in their seven games leading up to the mid-season break.
If that is a sign of any weakening on their part without Bauer, it could hint that a certain Illinois-based organisation is in the frame to see their World Series stock rise in the coming weeks.
Tony La Russa has extensive experience at baseball’s pinnacle having collected three World Series pendants as a manager, once leading the Oakland Athletics (1989) and twice more with the St. Louis Cardinals (2006, ’11).
The MLB veteran is making major waves in his first season at Guaranteed Rate Field and has momentum on his side after winning five straight prior to the mid-season interval.
The Chicago White Sox will resume their 2021 campaign at home to the Astros on Saturday (July 17), a three-game series that could bear huge significance in the battle to prove who can stand up to Los Angeles.
2021 World Series Odds Leaders
|Los Angeles Dodgers||+400|
|Chicago White Sox||+850|
|San Diego Padres||+850|
|New York Mets||+900|
|Boston Red Sox||+1200|
|Tampa Bay Rays||+1600|
|San Francisco Giants||+2000|